Author Archive for Matt Yearling

How to Buy Your First Autonomous Robot

Take a calculated approach to robotics procurement and you’ll stand the best chance of successfully aligning it with your company’s mission, values, and future plans. In Robots in the Supply Chain: The Perfect Employee? Merril Douglas paints a picture of a time in the near future when robots and humans will work side-by-side to help companies gain speed, increase accuracy, cut costs, and handle the grunt work. “We’re sitting in the middle of a perfect storm […]

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Can Robots Help You Manage Inventory Better?

In the United States, 250,000 manufacturing plants and warehouses support the activities of 4 million retail stores and e-commerce websites – and all of these operations carry inventory. But in the warehouses, less than 10 percent are using automated storage and retrieval systems (AS/RS) to manage and move their inventories. That means the vast majority are still using racks and other storage solutions that require a lot of floor space (read: high real estate costs) […]

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Drone-Powered Digital Inventory

Even though 90% of inventory is stationary in the supply chain, inventory accuracy at distribution centers, warehouses, and plants ranges from 89% to 99%*. In retail stores, this number drops to below 60%**. That’s because most of the inventory management process is still a manual activity. Knowing what inventory is on hand at any given time in the supply chain—and then tying that data to transportation and delivery—is a never-ending challenge for most companies. Overcoming […]

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Top 10 reasons why aerial robots (autonomous drones) for inventory management make sense

They are: Increased frequency of inventory checks Increased certainty of inventory levels Reduced losses due to inventory shrinkage More reliable financial reporting Better visibility to out-of-stock and excess inventory Increased velocity of order picking Savings in personnel costs or operations downtime Elimination of resources and equipment Staff redirected to handle high value activities Safer environment for employees I continue to stress that every company on the planet, that has a significant supply chain operation, is […]

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Bucking the 80/20 Trend: 4 Key Benefits of Adopting a Digital Yard

Also known as “the 80/20 rule,” the Pareto Principle states that, for many events, roughly 80% of the effects come from 20% of the causes. Management consultant Joseph M. Juran suggested the principle and named it after Italian economist Vilfredo Pareto, who noted the 80/20 connection while at the University of Lausanne in 1896, as published in his first paper, “Cours d’économie politique.” The same 80/20 principle can be applied in the supply chain, where […]

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Are Your Yards Connected to the Supply Chain Ecosystem?

By definition, an ecosystem is a group of interconnected elements, formed by the interaction of a community of organisms with their environment. The same concept applies in the supply chain, where networks of organizations—including manufacturers, suppliers, distributors, retailers, customers, and carriers—are all involved in the hands-on delivery of a specific product or service. While few would argue the important role that the manufacturing plant, warehouse, distribution center, and transportation channel play in getting goods from […]

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Is Your Yard Ready to Join the Digital Revolution?

With the millions of trailers nationwide sitting idle and unhooked 80% of the time, it’s time to take your yard out of the dark ages and into the digital world. When it comes to the warehouse or DC yard, traditional supply chain management software tools like Transportation Management Systems (TMS), Warehouse Management Systems (WMS), and Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) have failed the very shippers that rely on them. And while some “add-on” Yard Management Systems (YMS) […]

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You can’t really count on cycle counting.

Whether we like it or not, every company on the planet with any significant supply chain operation has an inventory reconciliation problem. It doesn’t matter if you are a retailer, manufacturer or logistics service provider, or if you have the latest and greatest warehouse management system. The fact is, if humans have to physically touch or scan inventory in the put away, inventory check or pick process, then errors will occur. The only debate will be the […]

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The Four Stages of Digital Disruption in the Supply Chain

Organizations continue to look for areas of opportunity and inspiration on the quest to improve the operational efficiency of their supply chain. While technology capabilities are plentiful, for many, it’s not immediately obvious where one should start. What I have attempted to do here is provide a staged view on how I would categorize significant technology enablement, with one category potentially building upon the other. Managed – The first place to start is to implement […]

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The Three Pillars of Supply Chain Execution

We all know that Supply Chain Execution (SCE) is composed of Warehouse, Yard and Transportation management components.  But have you ever considered the relative importance of these three components?  Even though organizations usually prioritize their Yard Management System (YMS) as the final component of this trio, implementing an enterprise YMS is just the beginning of the journey of engendering execution excellence across an organization’s supply chain. Below are the three key considerations that make the […]

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